Thursday, February 15, 2007

It comes highly recommended

I love meals that come together quickly and without much effort. I also love food that you can prepare beforehand and finish in one dish with a quick bake in the oven. That said, I prefer that my food have layers. You know, sweet and savory… fresh herbs piled on top of a spicy meat with sweet vegetables.

I am a fan of slow cooked food and, I hate to admit it, the crock-pot. It’s one of those kitchen tools that you hide away and take out in the blistering cold of winter when nothing but a thick beef stew will suffice. It’s a tool that does all those things I love. It allows you to prepare the ingredients before hand and it takes your taste buds on a winding tour of the slow cooking process-- through the herbs, the vegetables and the sauce. The final product always begs for something fresh and crisp on top and comes together so easily that all you have to do is plate it, or make a side of mashed potatoes / rice to soak up all that saucy goodness.

A crock-pot was one of my first purchases when I got an apartment. My mom, while not the cook of our household, often used one. I used to love returning home from school to the aroma of slow cooked meats and veggies and found her dishes to be the most comforting. Believing that Alex would embrace the dishes with my same delight, I decided to “treat” him one day to slow cooked BBQ ribs. Well, it turns out not everyone likes the aroma of the crock pot. He complained about the scent of onion for at least two weeks straight. Granted, our clothes (even those that were hung in the closet of our bedroom) did reek. It was a fair enough complaint. However- I hoped that it was just that one dish that would produce those stinky results.

After the scent had FINALLY disappeared I warily took out the crock-pot and attempted to make the filling for a chicken pot pie. After work, before I even opened the apartment door, I could smell it lingering on our floor mat….. the same smell that the ribs had produced……the dreaded crock pot smell. I threw open the windows and sat shivering trying to waft it out the door and praying it would go away before Alex got home. Didn’t happen, and I haven’t used the crock pot since. I guess our apartment is just too small. We’re lacking ventilation so the crock-pot is out.

Anyway, the point of this rambling is to introduce a dish I discovered on fellow blogger Brilynn’s site. The recipe, “Spicy Black Bean- Sweet Potato Burrito” was so good, and so multi-dimensional that I am inspired to experiment with as many new spices, peppers, and random vegetable combinations that I can come up with. The smooth and mushy texture of the mashed sweet potatoes, the black beans and chili spiced onions, the crispy whole wheat burrito, the cold sour cream and the spicy salsa—mmm….mmm…. and more mmm!! Thank you Brilynn.

The dish reminds me of all those slow cooked recipes my mom used to make. I think the flavor combination is perfect and if you are looking for a layered dish that produces different tastes with each bite- this is it.

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